Marcus Paige: Returns to face the Maryland Terrapins


The North Carolina Tar Heels will get a much needed reinforcement when Marcus Paige returns from injury tonight.

Marcus Paige is returning for the game against Maryland tonight. That has to make every North Carolina Tar Heel basketball fan happy. The Tar Heels started off the season ranked number one based on the assumption that Paige would be there. So far this season the team has gone 5-1 in games without their point guard.

The loss is kind of a sore spot. Relatively ignored Northern Iowa inflicted that loss on its home court. That game was supposed to be a homecoming game for the Iowa-raised Paige, but the guard could not participate in it. Northern Iowa took advantage to beat a high ranked team going to an away game on a mid-major home court.

Even in the wins the Tar Heels have not looked in sync in their offense. Without the creator Paige, the team has settled for more jump shots around the perimeter. Success has been more on individual participation rather than any sort of method.

The best player in recent games has been small forward Justin Jackson. Jackson has been doing a bit of everything. He was named the MVP of the Hall of Fame Tournament which saw victories over Northwestern and Kansas State. Jackson had double-doubles in those games. He found his teammates as well, and this something to look for with the return of Paige.

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The biggest winner of Paige’s return has to be Kennedy Meeks. Meeks has been trying to force offense from disadvantageous positions because that is where he has gotten the ball. Paige will change that, as defenses will have to respect Paige’s shot and not completely clog the middle when he has the ball.

Paige will key the offense in ways that it is not currently utilizing. The question will be whether he is ready to do it in his first game?

Paige is also coming back just in time to face top five opponent Maryland. The former ACC school sports both former Roy Williams assistant (and current Maryland head coach) Mark Turgeon and former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon among its members.

North Carolina plays Maryland in the Smith Center tonight at 9:30 PM.